Peanut Barrel, Andy Wells, Diana Tarpoff, and Maureen McCabe-Power Are This Year’s Crystal Awardees

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Clockwise from left: Andy Wells, Jennifer Bell, Joe Bell, Maureen McCabe-Power, and Diana Tarpoff, winners of the 2021 Crystal Awards.

Regular readers of ELi will likely be familiar with all of the winners of this year’s Crystal Awards – the annual public service awards given out by a committee of East Lansing community members and formally hosted by the City Council.

The awards this year go to Joe and Jennifer Bell and their beloved local business The Peanut Barrel, East Lansing High School Principal Andy Wells, local educational leader Diana Tarpoff, and Maureen McCabe-Power, perhaps best known for her leadership through Friends of the East Lansing Public Library.

The Bells have provided not only a community gathering space at their downtown restaurant, but have also been financial contributors to so many community groups (including ELi). At ELi, you can read in our archives the story of The Peanut Barrel’s history as reported by Peyton Lombardo, and read in a report from Christopher Wardell about how Peanut Barrel managed staying open during the pandemic, keeping people in East Lansing supplied with food, drink, and human company.

When Andy Wells first became Principal of East Lansing High School, Ann Kammerer reported for our readers on Wells’ remarkable history, capturing a bit of why so many students respect and appreciate Wells. Wells has also served as an unofficial advisor to ELi’s editorial staff over the years, for which we are very grateful.

Ann Kammerer also brought for our readers a report on the extraordinary public service of Diana Tarpoff. Tarpoff is probably best known for launching the Sarah Tarpoff Creative Writing Award, which honors her daughter, who died in a horseback riding accident at age 10. Tarpoff is widely appreciated by area teachers and parents for energizing our local schools to support students’ expression, including in poetry.

The generous volunteer work of Maureen McCabe-Power has frequently been reported in ELi, particularly in terms of her support of the East Lansing Public Library. To get just a taste of McCabe-Power’s public service and leadership, check out ELi’s report by Sarah Spohn on just one of so many mission-driven library fundraisers led by McCabe-Power and ELi’s report from Emily Joan Elliott on how the library and its Friends took extraordinary measures to keep serving people during the pandemic shut-downs.

The City’s website has reproduced the commendations for each of this year’s Crystal Award winners. The formal awards ceremony took place at the Hannah Community Center on June 24, with Mayor Aaron Stephens and Mayor Pro Tem Jessy Gregg joining the awardees for a photo.

At the 2021 Crystal Awards ceremony, from left, Mayor Pro Tem Jessy Gregg, Joe and Jennifer Bell (The Peanut Barrel), Maureen McCabe-Power, Mayor Aaron Stephens, and Diana Tarpoff. Andy Wells was unable to attend the reception. Photo courtesy City of East Lansing.

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